Politics

LP Candidate Akpata Attacks Edo State Gov’t Over Destruction of Campaign Billboards

The candidate of the Labour Party in the upcoming Edo State gubernatorial election, Olumide Akpata, has alleged that the Peoples Democratic Party-led state government has destroyed his campaign billboards.

Akpata described the action as a “coordinated, premeditated, and insidious assault” on his rights to free speech and political expression.

Speaking at a press conference in Benin, Akpata claimed that billboards he legally paid for and erected across the city were vandalized, defaced, and torn down by agents of the incumbent governor, Godwin Obaseki.

He accused the government of being “desperate, undemocratic, and fascistic” and trying to silence the voice of the people.

Mr Akpata alleged that billboards in Oredo, Ovia North East, and Ikpoba Okha local government areas were targeted, with threats of more removals to come.

The statement reads in part: “In Oredo Local Government Area, two of my billboards were viciously vandalised, defaced, and ultimately torn down, with explicit threats of more removals to come. The situation is equally dire and unacceptable in Ovia North East, where two more billboards bearing my visage and campaign messages were mindlessly destroyed by these merchants of antidemocratic forces. In Ikpoba Okha, my campaign team has received unambiguous threats that our billboards in that area will also be targeted for elimination.

“Let me be clear, these are the desperate, last-ditch tactics of an intolerant regime terrified of the winds of change blowing across our dear state, a regime paralysed by the fear of the people’s burgeoning yearning for a new direction, a new vision, and a new era of progressive and inclusive governance.

“By resorting to the destruction of my campaign materials, which I have legally and legitimately paid for with hard-earned resources, Governor Obaseki, and his handlers have clearly shown themselves to be anti-democratic forces intolerant of divergent voices, dissenting opinions, and the fundamental principles of pluralism that undergird any true democracy worth the name.”

In response, the Edo Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Chris Nehikhare, urged Akpata to settle any outstanding bills or disputes with relevant agencies responsible for signage.

“We encourage Akpata to prioritize addressing the internal challenges within his party and work towards fostering unity and stability. Let us all strive to promote a peaceful and inclusive electoral process for the benefit of all citizens,” he said.

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